Characterizing Japanese Learners’ Written Complexity, Accuracy, and Fluency Over a School Year

Proceedings of The 5th International Conference on Teaching, Learning and Education

Year: 2022



Characterizing Japanese Learners’ Written Complexity, Accuracy, and Fluency Over a School Year

Robert W. Long III



In most traditional EFL writing classes in Japan and elsewhere, there has been an over-emphasis and data collection on exam scores, completed homework assignments, or e-learning modules, but there has been little research about students’ improvement in writing over a school term or academic year. This article reports on research that was conducted at Hiroshima University concerning the changes in Japanese EFL students’ writing complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF) that occurred in the span of one academic school year. Students were divided into two groups, one who self-edited their second drafts, and those who used an online grammar checker; furthermore, there was a treatment group who were assigned essays each month, and a control group that did essays three times over the year. Research questions focused on differences between the control and treatment groups, if grammatical errors decreased over the year, possible significant improvements between the first and second drafts for syntactical complexity, and accuracy, and if there was a significant difference between self-editing and the use of grammar online checkers. Results showed that for the first aim, there was a significant difference; likewise, it was found that fluency did not significantly increase over time whereas some syntactical complexity variables did show significant increases. For the third aim, errors for clause ratio (EFCR) and errors for clause total (EFCT) did decrease over time. For the final three research questions, the results showed significant differences. Findings indicate that student output is varied, and complex, and needs more attention from educators.

keywords: writing, syntactical complexity, accuracy, fluency.